The Hazards of a
Photo Society Photographer...

This page is dedicated to Wes Skiles who died doing the work he loved. Sadie Quarrier, senior photo editor, National Geographic Magazine says:   “I was lucky enough to work with Wes as his photo editor on (his) “Bahamas Blue Holes” story for NGM. He was deeply passionate about diving, exploring, photographing and protecting the waterways… Wes was big-hearted and humble yet extremely driven. He was doggedly determined to produce the best possible article on these caves he called home. He dared to dream big, and no budget or contract would stop him from going after a shot he felt we needed, even if it was on his own dime…”

There have been other deaths over the years and many serious injuries. The posts below are recent survey responses from 45 photographers about some of the hazards encountered while on assignment for the National Geographic Society. The numbers represent individual incidents.

Reality Check

  • Giardia

    8
  • Seat Belt Releases with Helicopter Tipped Over Volcano

    2
  • Wound Infection

    30
  • Hypothermia

    9
  • Extreme Toxins

    3
  • Groped

    9
  • Various Parasites

    16
  • Attack by 9,000 pound Elephant Seal

    1
  • Lost at Sea

    1
  • Severe Diarrhea

    90
  • Malaria

    5
  • Punched in Face

    1
  • Broken Ribs

    6
  • Severe Dehydration

    19
  • Strongyloide Invasion

    1
  • Hotel Surrounded by Rebels

    1
  • Streaming Blood While Hanging from Harness at 1500 feet

    1
  • Lost in Andes

    2
  • Teargassed

    2
  • Meningitis

    1
  • Viper in Camera Bag

    1
  • Paraglider Crash Landing in Tree

    1
  • Trips into Chernobyl Reactor

    3
  • Broken Nose

    2
  • Assorted Animal Attacks

    8
  • Dengue Fever

    1
  • Falls

    12
  • Beaten

    3
  • Stabbed

    1
  • Chased by Wild Elephant

    3
  • Paraglider Crash

    21
  • Imprisoned

    3
  • Penis Fish

    1
  • Burns

    4
  • Fall Into Crevasse

    2
  • Venomous Bites

    9
  • Flesh Eating Parasites

    1
  • Held at Knifepoint

    1
  • Car or Bus Crash

    7
  • Spitting Cobra Attacks

    1
  • Plane or Helicopter Crash

    5
  • Broken Tail Bone

    1
  • Robbed

    13
  • Hunted with Bows and Arrows

    1
  • Assault by Florida panther. 2 photographers, 2 assignments, same panther.

    2
  • Diagnosed PTSD

    1
  • Rope Burn

    10
  • Scaffolding Collapse

    1
  • Paraglider Crash Landing in Ocean

    1
  • Stoned by Religious Group

    2
  • Threatened / Detained / Abducted

    21
  • Held at Gunpoint

    2
  • Amoebic Dysentery

    20
  • Lost on Arctic Ice

    1
  • Arrest or House Arrest

    33
  • Out of Air Diving Under Oil Rig

    1
  • Acid Dripping Caves

    1
  • Buried in Avalanche

    2
  • Bit by Ticks (in my penis)

    1
  • Frostbite (23 for one photographer)

    29
  • Severe Insect Problems

    12
  • Land on Rock Ledge After 90 Foot Fall

    1
  • Robbed

    5
  • Out of Air Diving Under Sea Ice

    1
  • Broken Bones

    4
  • Random Assault

    6
  • Blinded by Wasps

    1
  • Groped

    2
  • Dislocations

    7
  • Loa-Loa Worm in Eye

    1
  • Temporary Blindness

    2
  • Paraglider Crash Landing on Sea Ice

    1
  • Tear Gassed

    4
  • Chased by Crocodile

    1
  • Run Checkpoint

    13